Conference Recordings--Overwhelmed with sessions. Need workflow advice please assist.

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by Garynyc, May 1, 2011.

  1. Garynyc

    Garynyc Active Member

    May 1, 2011
    Hi all;

    I am in a conundrum over a good workflow for editing conference recordings. We do the
    recordings live, on site at different conference centers, hotels and the like, and
    have to edit them with a one day turnaround. I have Sound Forge 10 and its a full
    featured program, but I would like to streamline workflow and get a consistent result
    over many different recordings. Sometimes the rooms are different, the mics are
    different, the speakers styles are different, etc. One of the main issues I would like
    to solve is the dreaded "panel discussion", where multiple speakers use their mics in
    different ways--from the loudmouth to the low talker, the head turner and the off-mic
    speaker unaware that there is a mic near them at all.
    I would like to know if there is some kind of normalization method in Sound Forge where I can actually have the program take all of these different speakers and put them roughly on the same par with eachother. Currently I just click and drag over a low area of speech and normalize to a level comprable to the others, then select the whole file and bump it up if I need to. I simply cant take the time now that we have up to 15 simultaneous recordings being dumped to my PC at a time to edit all of them with lots of care!

    Other questions--approximately what decible range should the heart of the speech be at? I am comfortable with peaks hitting between -3db--1db. Is that too conservative?

    I use clipped peak restoration to take the edge off some recordings that are too "hot"
    seems to work well. Is this an advisable plug in to use for overdriven speech?

    Also would anyone recommend using the "batch converter" in order to automate these
    processes? Or should each be taken on individually.

    Off-mic questions. Is there a good method for getting them to be audible without making them sound like a tin can?

    I really hope someone can help me out here. Thank you for any and all advice!
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    A crude way of doing this is to use the compression tool available under Effects/Dynamics in later versions of SoundForge. This will cause "pumping" of the ambient sounds, which gets tiring on the ear, so you have to experiment with compressor settings that strike a balance between bringing the speech up to a reasonably constant level and not having the background churning around.

    Which version of SF do you have?
  3. Garynyc

    Garynyc Active Member

    May 1, 2011
    SF 10

    I have version 10. Can you suggest any good tutorials for Sound Forge?
  4. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    The only way to get less work on the back-end is do more work (and/or spend more money) on the front-end.
    I've done this sort of thing a few times.

    One mic per participant (12), EQ and compression tailored to their individual speaking style. (Compression will be your best friend) And a mic down each aisle for the audience members to ask the panel members a question. Mixed on-the-fly in realtime during the event. Recorded straight to CD and to laptop simultaneously. (or sometimes 3-cameras to DVD) Very little post-production required. If everything went well, I'm ready to duplicate CDs / DVDs in the 2 minutes it takes to finalize the master disc. If there were a gaffe, or it needed edited for time - we're off to the PT session on the laptop for editing.

    With the gear I have today, I'd probably take the same Sony Pro CD Recorder, the PreSonus StudioLive into the Alesis HD24 recording both the Main stereo mix and the individual channels, and the laptop "Capture"-ing to the hard drive. Triple-redundancy, total control if needed, compressor on every channel, and still a very good chance of getting a good stereo recording on-the-fly.

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